When you choose "exact match" AdWords will show you only the quantity of searches estimated for that precise phrase. If you use broad match, they'll include any search phrases that use related/similar words in a pattern they think could have overlap with your keyword intent (which can get pretty darn broad). "Phrase match" will give you only those phrases that include the word or words in your search - still fairly wide-ranging, but between "exact" and "broad."
The fact that I am having heart palpitations as I am reading this shows that I have a lot to learn. I have the content and the passion, but I feel like I am trying to teach myself a whole new field of study here! Thanks so much for this helpful guide. I am bookmarking this & will go through step by step as I build my blog (probably over the next 2 years!). Hopefully by then this won't feel like a foreign language to me.

Thanks for the excellent post. I've been building my blog over the past year and a half and it's steadily improved. Lately it's been tuning things up one step at a time by reading comprehensive posts like this one (I do think this is the most comprehensive I've seen though) that have helped me plant more seeds for success. A ton of great tips, ESPECIALLY the last one. 
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Finding a link is great, but it's through the exhaustive research of looking through dozens or hundreds that you can identify patterns and strategies. You're also likely to find a lot of guest blogging opportunities and other chances for outreach. If you maintain a great persona and brand in your niche, your ability to earn these will rise dramatically.
If you’re using GKP, you can get a rough idea of the difficulty based on the domain authority (DA) of the search results when you Google that keyword. You can find DA with Moz Open Site Explorer. As a rule of thumb, if a lot of the posts have a DA of over 40 or 50, it’s probably going to be tough to outrank them. But using Ahrefs or SEMrush will give you a better picture.
In a disconnected digital world, people are seeking out ways in which they can feel a sense of engagement and connection. That’s one explanation for how authentic storytelling through the use of video is proven to increase engagement. Whether it’s through actions like comments, likes, or shares, if people are responding to your video marketing content, that’s a great sign that you’re on the right track.
Avoid overwhelming your readers. When you’re full of inspiration or you have a lot to say, it can be easy to create blog posts, designs, images, and content that are overwhelming to viewers. Try to keep each individual post relatively short, breaking up broad topics into multiple, concise articles. Additionally, avoid having tons of contrasting ads, images, and links spread around the borders of your page.
Create an advertisement exchange. Many blogs create a column for ads solely from other bloggers in their genre. Start a space on your blog where other blogs can post an advertisement; they’ll likely link to your page as well. Do the opposite too; look for free or cheap monthly ad spaces through other blogs. In the end, you both end up with more readers, so it’s a win-win situation. 
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